Tino Sabbatelli believes Triple H should have handled his second departure from WWE in a more professional manner.
Sabbatelli worked for WWE as part of the NXT system between October 2014 and April 2020. He returned to the company in October 2020 before receiving his release for the second time in June 2021.
Speaking on Chris Van Vliet’s Insight podcast, the former footballer vented his frustration with the NXT founder’s booking of his character.
“I lost a little respect because I didn’t get a call, I didn’t get a text from Triple H,” Sabbatelli said. “I called him and I reached out to him. I didn’t respect that, man, because I felt like I gave them everything that I had for five, six years, and he told me and numerous people told me that my character had star main-event caliber potential. But how do I never get a shot? Nothing.”
Although he does not know for sure, Sabbatelli thinks age played a part in his sudden WWE exit.
Before his second departure, the 38-year-old headlined in-house live events at the Performance Center against Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa. He also received assurances from WWE producer Jamie Noble that Vince McMahon would like him.
Tino Sabbatelli’s request to Triple H before his return
WWE released several superstars, including Tino Sabbatelli, in April 2020 as a cost-cutting measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NXT’s decision-makers stayed in touch with the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star and decided to re-sign him after his one-off AEW Dark appearance.
Reflecting on a meeting he had with Triple H upon his return, Sabbatelli said he told The Game that he wanted to receive an opportunity:
“I said, ‘Okay, H. Again, I’m honored, privileged, but I’ve gotta be honest with you, I bought into everything you asked me to do for five years. I humbled myself, I was extremely grateful. All I want is an opportunity, just an opportunity for the character Tino,’ because I felt like he was the dude that everybody talked about.”
Sabbatelli was often regarded as a future WWE main-roster star, but he rarely received a chance in the spotlight in NXT. His final televised WWE match came in April 2018 when he and Madcap Moss, then known as Riddick Moss, lost against Heavy Machinery.
Watch: Former WWE Superstars who were released multiple times
Please credit Chris Van Vliet’s Insight podcast and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.
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